Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien held up five fingers then threw his thumb over his shoulder, asking the referee why Marc-Andre Bergeron wasn’t getting a major and being ejected for his first period hit on David Krejci Thursday night.
The Tampa Bay Lightning coach, however, saw the incident much differently than his counterpart.
With his eyes bulging, his right hand pounding his left shoulder, and his finger pointing at the St. Pete Times Forum centre ice video board, Guy Boucher was about as furious as furious gets. Bergeron’s check was clean, he screamed and screamed again. He was probably right, too.
Thing is, in today’s NHL you just never know how the officials are going to call such collisions. Sometimes, even though there is no penalty on a play, a suspension is handed down by the league the next day -- if you can believe that.
It’s all in the name of eliminating head shots, which for some reason were never a problem in the NHL we grew up watching.
Rising TV star Aaron Ward was likely on to something when he said Julien’s mild plea had more to do with the player who was hit than the hit itself. The Bruins can ill afford to lose Krejci. We saw what happened when they did in last spring’s playoffs, and he was the only guy who seemed able to score for most of Thursday's game.
Come to think of it, Julien should have been the coach who snapped. Clean hit or not. Seeing Krejci on one knee right in front of the Bruins bench looking dazed and confused had to leave him with a shivering sense of deja vu. He was just getting Patrice Bergeron back from yet another concussion. And while his team is looking good, having just played its best game of the playoffs and now only six wins from capturing the Cup, think about how much better the B’s would be with the concussed Marc Savard in their lineup.
Former NHLer Dean McAmmond, when asked about his concussion problems, once said: “I don’t have concussion problems. I have a problem with people hitting me in the head.”
Bruins centres can identify.
Starts and stops
Sure, Boston and Tampa want to win this series to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup final, quite possibly against the Vancouver Canucks. As an added bonus, it could mean a chance to visit the suddenly very entertaining Rogers Arena penalty box ... Some fans show up late for a game, but players have to be on time. Tampa defenceman Brett Clark clearly wasn’t mindfully present when he left Krejci all alone in front of the net to score the first goal ... How do you distract a hundred reporters covering a playoff game? Send out a tweet that says a deal is done and the press conference will be held next week to officially announce that the Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg. From there, the scribes wind up doing more chasing than watching.
Things I think I think
Tyler Seguin had a night for the ages Tuesday, but when all the players from this series have retired, 21-year-old Steven Stamkos will have had the best career ... Still hard to believe the Bruins were playing their first road game in 17 days. How do the players survive without per diem for that long? ... Did you not think Gary Bruce Bettman looked troubled each time the camera panned on him? Like he was constipated or something?
Dominik Hasek was unorthodox, but don’t think I ever recall him doing a Savardian-spin-o-rama before making a save like Tim Thomas completed prior to the amazing right boot stop off Vinny Lecavalier in the first ... Perfect example why you need a good Zamboni and Zamboni driver. At the start of the second, a puddle caused Eric Brewer to lose the puck to Brad Marchand, which very nearly led to a goal by Patrice Bergeron.
Back to the point
Anybody else notice Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk do a cheers and tap water bottles on the Bruins bench after Ference’s goal? ... Did Pierre McGuire call that second period too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty against Tampa? Sorta seemed that way, as the refs weren’t until the TSN BBB (broadcaster between the benches) started hollering about it into his mike ... Zdeno Chara has the longest stick in the league, but it must have looked like a fishing rod to Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier all night. Chara spoiled a couple of their scoring chances with nice poke checks.
"Another name to watch for vacant NHL coaching jobs. Mike Yeo has the Houston Aeros on the verge of going to the Calder Cup final."
-Toronto Sun hockey writer Lance Hornby (@sunhornby)
"At Dodger Stadium on the field watching the Defending champs get loose."
-Nashville Predators defenceman Shane O’Brien (@ShaneOBrien55)
"Upside of NHL leaving Atlanta: I won’t be going near the CNN Center, which means I will no longer be mistaken for Sanjay Gupta."
-Rogers Sportsnet reporter Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes)
"Is this true?!"
-Atlanta Thrashers rising star Evander Kane (@EKaneAtl9)